Q & A with Vern “Hollywood” Anagnostou
Vern is somewhat of a legend around Younghusband. He’s seen Kensington and the building evolve over the years and has been the caretaker of Younghusband since 2001. He seems to know everyone and is an amazing source of knowledge and history. He keeps the place warm and hospitable, maintaining the display suite and assisting with tours and inspections of the site. The pot-plants and flowers that soften up the laneways and corridors are some of Vern’s handy work.
Younghusband has been the backdrop to loads of tv, theatre, movies and music videos, what have been a highlight for you?
The block have been on site on four occasions and have approached us to film in early April once more. We also have had scenes shot for Mrs Fisher Murder Mysteries, Dr Blake, Molly, INXS Blake and Runaway Boys, directed by Rachael Griffiths. The Highlight would be I, Frankenstein where I was introduced Bill Nighy.
Legend has it that we might have some ghosts in the building, have you ever seen anything spooky?
Not myself personally, but on separate occasions whilst having drinks in No. 12 venue at 2.00 am, guests have reported a presence.I also bought in a colleague Kat from KPMG who is into paranormal activity and conducts tours to supposedly haunted sites. Kat set up her equipment in the back of Revolt and confirmed there was supernatural presence.
When you have some time to yourself, where do you go for food or a drink in the area?
Belair St in the village of Kensington is the main Café and Restaurant precinct. My favourite is Fruits Of Passion, Its about one hundred metres from the Younghusband site and runs along the railway line. Our local hotel Hardimans has been renovated and now is a hub of activity.
Where’s your favourite place to go for a stroll in Kensington?
I like to go through Kensington Banks, which appears to be an estate, I call it a toy town - I expect to see Noddy. Lots of townhouses and parks. There's a prayer garden and even a Mandarin temple.
What’s your absolute favourite part of your role here?
Meeting and greeting. I’m passionate about the building so any opportunity to show the site off gives me a thrill.
Younghusband seems to attract a lot of creative types, do you have any secret creative skills or hobbies?
No I came from the Travel Industry, but after seven years setting up for themed functions I learned a lot about creating perceptions, basically smoke and mirrors.
You used to work with the reception centre next door, what’s the biggest event you ever helped host there?
The Highlight theme was “Put you on a plane and take you to France, Germany and London”. We built an aeroplane on the mezzanine floor, 120 people checked-in, where flight attendants arranged their seating and served food and drinks. Guests then proceeded to another section set up as a black forest with a stage and dancers in lederhosen performed. They were served German beer and frankfurts. And then moved to another part of the warehouse set up as a French café where can-can dancers performed.
What’s your favourite physical part of the building?
Currently Kensington Collective is my favourite, the building was the first section constructed in the late 1890s and has a platform running the length of the building. The Australian ballet also used to store their props and costumes from 1995 until 2013.